Sauces + Pastes

Listed in alphabetical order, I have included pictures and a brief description of all the sauces and pastes that I currently use in my home. Keep an eye out for my blog because I will be posting more recipes that use each of these sauces/pastes!

  • Caramel Sauce – I use this as a cheats version to making all the Vietnamese caramelised dishes (thịt kho, cá kho etc.) Since it is quite easy to burn caramel, I find it a lot easier to just use the bottled version which lasts for a very long time IMG_5849


  • Chilli Bean Sauce (Toban Djan/Doubanjiang) – Is a spicy salty sauce made from fermented broad beans used in Chinese cooking                IMG_5873


  • Chilli Paste – Thai Chilli Paste and Chilli Paste w/ Sweet Basil – The Thai Chilli paste is somewhat similar to a chilli jam and is extremely mild in heat levels and pairs well with stir fries and marinades. The chilli paste w/ sweet basil leaves is a lot spicier and fragrant from the sweet basil leaves. This goes extremely well with seafood, pork and chicken stir fries and marinades for grilling IMG_5881 IMG_5875


  • Curry Paste – Red and Green – Red curry paste is made from thai red chillies which is less spicy than green curry pastes made from green chillies. This is the brand I like to use as there are no added preservatives/colours/MSG.IMG_5887 IMG_5883
  • Fish Sauce – The Viet Huong brand is the one I use for all recipes except for Caramelised dishes (kho), which I use the squid brand for. I find that the squid brand has a stronger smell and taste, which is what I want in my caramelised dishes                                                                                             IMG_5828 IMG_5842.jpg


  • Fermented Bean Curd – White (Chao) and Red (Chao Đỏ) – Fermented bean curd is Chinese condiment made from tofu that has been fermented. The usual ingredients in these jars consist of soy beans, salt, rice wine, sesame oil, chilli, vinegar. The jars usually have small blocks/cubes of bean curd soaked in different brines. The Red variety gets its distinct colour from red yeast rice and I find that it has a richer flavour than the white varieties                                               IMG_5877 IMG_5879


  • Gochujang (Korean Hot Pepper Paste) – I use this for Kimchi fried rice and to make marinade sauces for chicken wings                                         IMG_5891


  • Hoisin Sauce (tương đen) – This sauce is used in Vietnamese cuisine as a dipping condiment for Phở. It is more commonly used in Chinese cooking for marinades, stir fries and dipping. The main ingredient in Hoisin is soybean and sugar and has a sweet and salty taste                                                                       IMG_5859


  • Kewpie Mayonnaise – This is a Japanese mayonnaise that is creamier and sweeter than normal mayonnaise. The brand I use is the widely known brand of the baby in the front                                                                                         IMG_5861


  • Miso Paste (Awase) – This is the variety of Miso that I use in my marinades for pork and miso soup. Awase Miso is a combination of both Red and White MisoIMG_5890


  • Oyster Sauce – Predominantly made from oyster extractives, this sauce is used in many Vietnamese dishes as well as Chinese for marinating and stir fries. I always buy the premium variety of this brand rather than the standard variety as the percentage of oyster extractives is higher, resulting in a richer taste.IMG_5855


  • Rice Wine – Chinese and Japanese (Mirin and Sake)- Shoaxing is widely used in Chinese cooking for stir fries. Mirin is a Japanese rice wine which is sweeter than cooking sake, and has less alcohol content than sake. I use both Mirin and Sake in my karaage chicken                                                                               IMG_5831 IMG_5850 IMG_5851


  • Sate Sauce (Sa Tế) – I like to use this in my marinade for Shaking Beef (Bò Lúc Lắc) and added to my Spicy Beef Soup (Bún Bò Huế). Main ingredients are chilli, garlic, onion, peanut and sesame                                                         IMG_5869


  • Sesame Dressing – I like to use this on salads when eating Japanese dishes. It is creamy and nutty, and slightly vinegary and sweet           IMG_5863


  • Sesame Oil – Derived from sesame seeds, this oil has a fragrant and nutty flavour which is used in marinades, stir fries, braised dishes and dipping sauces IMG_5844


  • Shrimp Paste (Mắm Ruốc) and Roasted Shrimp Paste – Made from tiny shrimp, it is fermented and has an extremely pungent smell and it is very salty. In Vietnamese cuisine, we use it in dishes like Spicy Beef Soup (Bún Bò Huế), Vermicelli Crab Soup (Bún Riêu) and Pork Belly stir fried with Shrimp Paste (Thịt Ba Roị xào Mắm Ruốc). I use the Roasted Shrimp paste in a blend with shallots, dried shrimp, garlic etc. to cook with prawns and green bean. The roasted shrimp paste has a deeper and smoky flavour from being roasted                                         IMG_5889 img_5900.jpg


  • Soy Sauce Light and Dark – I generally use light soy in most of my stir fries and dipping sauces. Dark soy is thicker in consistency, a lot darker, and saltier. It is usually added in braised dishes and marinades to provide more colour and full-bodied flavour                                                                             IMG_5839 IMG_5835


  • Sriracha Chilli Sauce – This brand is my preferred brand to use as a condiment for Phở. It is mildly spice with a hint of sourness                            img_5858.jpg


  • Tamarind Pulp – This brand is made from 90% tamarind pulp and 10% water. I use this for making a Tamarind dipping sauce to accompany grilled fish rice paper rolls. It is quite sour with a fragrant fruity smell                               IMG_5865


  • Vinegar – Black and White Rice – Black Vinegar is used in Chinese cooking for dipping sauces and stir fries. Chinese white rice vinegar is less acidic than the Western varieties and it usually used in stir fries                  IMG_5847 IMG_5848


  • XO Sauce – This is used in Chinese cooking mainly paired with seafood and stir fries. It has a rich umami flavour from the dried seafood such as scallops, and shrimp, chinese ham and salted fish                                      IMG_5867

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